The best running strollers can be life changers. Well not as life-changing as the event that makes a running buggy necessary in the first place, of course. But once I stopped peeing myself every time I broke into the slightest jog after giving birth (about four months in – don’t rush this bit, and definitely do your pelvic floor exercises!) my thoughts immediately turned to the best running strollers to help me wrestle back my fitness. It was time to pull on my best trail running shoes and head out once more… taking the little one with me.
Running pushchairs– sporty wheelchairs, basically – can be an intimidating piece of kit to buy. There are lots to choose from, and the best running strollers are a serious investment, ranging from a couple of hundred for the Out’n’About Nipper Sport, into four figures for the all-singing, all-dancing Thule Chariot 1, which morphs seamlessly from running buggy to bike trailer to cross-country skiing sleigh.
Some are an absolute dream for running canal paths and trails but not very shop-friendly for coffee and grocery trips (because what parent isn’t multi-tasking between fitness, friends and food-shopping?). Some have a fixed front wheel or big/small wheel options. Some can take a newborn carry cot. Some have handlebar brakes. Some have loads of useful pockets to store your best trail running sunglasses (or nappies) in. And some also come as doubles (we salute you, double pushers).
No matter which you choose, these are our choice of the best running buggies and strollers for setting you free for a return to running. No longer will you be a slave to the nap, confined to home workouts on YouTube. Yes, the rush of the wind, fresh air, the sound of birdsong, the sun on your face – you can escape with one of the best running strollers, back to your happy place. And for a while, you might even forget you have kids.
Only joking – you’ve still got to push...
The best running strollers and buggies for running
Mountain Buggy Terrain
The most versatile stroller on the market – great on both rough trails and around town
RRP: $660 (US) / £660 (UK) | Weight: 13.5kg / 29.8lb | Folded size: 93cm x 63cm x 39cm / 37in x 25in x 15in | Minimum age: 6 months | Maximum weight: 25kg / 55.1lb | Colors: Yellow / Black / Graphite | Newborn crib or car seat attachment possible: Yes | Double version available: No
The Mountain Buggy Terrain is durable and versatile, great for both running and popping into town. If you combine your fitness with meeting friends or food shopping and want one pram to do it all, then go for this.
The genius here is the front wheel, which can be locked into place for speedy running or left on swivel for quick, compact maneuvering around town, filling the ample undercarriage with a week’s shopping. The two 750ml bottle holders and four zip pockets are handy for nappies, your purse, phone, tissues, gloves and so on. The thick, grippy 16-inch wheels (there’s also a 12-inch pair for town) are really good on rough, rocky ground.
It’s so good we were tempted to take it on trails muddier than the other buggies, but the mud was so sticky it clogged the front wheel… oops. The child is very comfy with the easy five-point harness and lie-flat backrest, which is super-easy to adjust up and down. You can also buy an additional sunshade to zip on. The only downsides are that the handlebar brake is in an awkward, uncomfortable position and the rain cover costs extra, and is tricky to fit around the water bottles.
Thule Glide 2
The Ferrari of running strollers, built to last with all the right features, but you pay for it
RRP: $700 (US) / £650 (UK) | Weight: 10.8kg / 23.8lb | Folded size: 93.5cm x 58cm x 33cm / 37in x 23in x 13in | Minimum age: 6 months | Maximum weight: 34kg / 75lb | Colors: Black | Newborn crib or car seat attachment possible: Yes | Double version available: Yes
So what do you get for double the price of the cheapest stroller in this test? Well, the Thule Glide 2 is the Ferrari of the bunch. If you can afford it and want a buggy specifically for running rather than one that you can take down the shops as well, get this durable, comfy stroller – the only downside is the high price and the extra cost of the rain cover ($50 / £45) and bumper bar ($35 / £30) if required.
The genius feature here is the unique and innovative handbrake, which simply requires a turn of the hand, rather than a traditional brake action (like when you’re riding a bike); it doesn’t obstruct either hand on the bar and is far easier to use. Bravo Thule.
The 20-inch back wheels and fixed 18-inch front wheel, combined with great suspension, make for a comfy ride over rocky and muddy tracks. The five-point harness buckle is easy to use, the seat reclines back fully, the sunshade reaches far over the child and with some practice you can even fold it down one-handed. There’s also plenty of room in the cargo basket, plus a rear mesh pocket and two mesh compartments for snacks or toys. The reflective detail is also an excellent safety feature.
A fast, light pram for smooth trails and bumpy tracks with reflective detail for roads
RRP: $580 (US) / £480 (UK) | Weight: 10.6kg / 23.4lb | Folded size: 89cm x 58.5cm x 25cm / 35in x 23in x 10in | Minimum age: 6 months | Maximum weight: 22kg / 48.5lb | Colors: Pink / Blue / Black / White / Gray | Newborn crib or car seat attachment possible: Yes | Double version available: No
The CYBEX Avi as is the lightest stroller on test, and this, combined with the long, curved handlebar that you can secure at any height, means it’s one of the best for running with – you don’t feel too encumbered.
It glides effortlessly over pavements, cobbles, smooth trails, grass and rougher tracks, but the slimmer wheels with low levels of grip aren’t the best here for more muddy and rocky trails. It’s more for the manicured, gritty paths of parks and canals than singletrack through woods, unless the weather is very dry.
The fixed wheel is easy to steer with a slight push down on the handlebars to lift it, but the buggy is very long. For pure running this is great, but although there is great capacity for groceries underneath, you’d want to swap to a more compact stroller for town trips.
The child is very comfy inside, especially in summer with the mesh sides and extensive sunshade. The five-point harness is easy to clip in place and adjust, and the backrest adjusts to any angle, including horizontal. The only downside is that it’s tricky getting the backrest up again with the weight of the child lying on it.
The best running strollers and buggies for multisport
Thule Chariot Cross 1
The most durable, bombproof all-rounder for runners who also like to bike and ski
RRP: $1,200 (US) / £950 (UK) | Weight: 13.8kg / 30.4lb | Folded size: 87cm x 65cm x 37.5cm / 34in x 25.5in x 15in | Minimum age: 6 months | Maximum weight: 34kg / 75lb | Colors: Blue | Newborn crib or car seat attachment possible: Yes | Double version available: Yes
If you want an all-rounder that’s more practical for both running and shopping than any other multi-activity stroller – and you don’t mind about price – then the Thule Chariot Cross 1 is the one to go for.
It’s more slimline and compact than the Burley D’Lite X so you’ve got more chance of getting it around shops if you only want to take one pram on trips away. You are also able to add a handlebar braking kit ($100 / £90), infant sling for one-month-olds onwards ($100 / £100) and baby head support ($70 / £80) making it even safer and more useful, but again at a higher price.
The build quality is wonderful – this will last forever once you’ve invested, and it’s a nice touch that there’s space to store the multi-activity kit when you’re not using it. The child is guaranteed a comfy and engaging ride with adjustable suspension and excellent viewing windows, and they’re kept safe with reflective details and an included rear light.
The only downside is that the included rain cover is so tight fitting it is difficult to get on with gloves on or cold hands. Overall, though it’s pricey but it’s excellent.
Burley D’Lite X
A great value multi-activity trailer for running, cycling and skiing – also available in a double model
RRP: $900 (US) / £710 (UK) | Weight: 12.5kg / 27.6lb | Folded size: 91cm x 70cm x 38cm / 36in x 28in x 15in | Minimum age: 6 months | Maximum weight: 34kg / 75lb | Colors: Blue | Newborn crib or car seat attachment possible: No | Double version available: Yes
If you do more than just run, but only want one stroller, consider the Burley D’Lite X. You can jog using the bike trailer arm with the wheel in walk mode, but for a more rugged run, add the jogger kit for $150 / £90 (single), which gives you a knobbly 16-inch front wheel to power through mud without clogging. And if you want to get out in the snow, the ski kit is a further $250 / £300.
Along with the Thule Chariot, the Burley D’Lite X is the most rugged model here in terms of getting truly off-road with adjustable suspension and room for loads of kit in the back, if you really want to punish yourself. However, once you’re used to a handlebar brake hurtling downhill without one is frightening, and that is the main drawback to this multi-activity trailer.
Also, the backrest only leans back a maximum of 120 degrees – nowhere near flat, so although comfy and secure with the easy five-point harness, if your little one needs to sleep they may need a support pillow.
That said, the weather protection was the best on test – this buggy is rainproof. There is no cover to put on; simply zip or velcro down the transparent roll-away front and back covers.
The best budget running strollers and buggies
Out’n’About Nipper Sport
Made in the UK, this was the lightest and best value running stroller on the market
RRP: $380 (US) / £335 (UK) | Weight: 9.8kg / 21.6lb | Folded size: 104cm x 61cm x 61cm / 41in x 24in x 24in | Minimum age: 6 months | Maximum weight: 22kg / 48.5lb | Colors: Red / Black / Blue / Gray | Newborn crib or car seat attachment possible: Yes
For running parents on a budget, the Out’n’About Nipper Sport is ideal. Even though you have to pay extra for the undercarriage storage basket (and who doesn’t need one of these? Just include it!) the price is still significantly lower than the rest of the joggers on test.
The buggy is very comfy for the child, with lots of backrest angles and good suspension. It’s the lightest jogger here too, and rolls well over bumpy ground, and the handlebar brake works well to slow the 16-inch wheels on steep descents.
There are a few slight niggles, though. The five-point harness is fiddly to clip together and loosens every time you collapse the buggy, which is frustrating. The foot brake doesn’t always catch, so be careful with that. The sunshade could be larger for more protection when running into the sun. And the poppers to connect the rain cover are a weak point and wear after regular use.
So the message here is that you do get what you pay for. If every cent counts and you don’t mind a bit of faff with a few features, this is a fantastic, great value running buggy that your child will be very comfortable zooming along in.
What to look for when buying the best running strollers
The best running stroller available is the one that best suits your specific requirements and facilitates your activities and lifestyle, with a price tag you can afford. There are several crucial considerations to think about, including the following:
When it comes to the best running strollers, the lighter the better – remember you are going to add your kid, fuel and kit, and that’s a lot to push. However, build quality and durability do come at a certain weight cost, so consider this as well when you make your purchase.
Your child’s age
Most running strollers are designed for children from six months upwards, as they are world-facing rather than parent-facing. Some have the option for newborn cribs, slings, padding or car seats to be attached inside or to the frame for being active with younger babies.
Fixed front wheel
Most running strollers are noticeably longer than “normal” buggies with a central fixed wheel that you lift to move by slightly pushing down on the handlebar. However, if there’s the option to lock or swivel the front wheel, this makes the pram a lot more versatile for using as your town / shops / city stroller for combining activities and saving money and space by only having one pram.
If you do more than just run then consider a multi-activity stroller. These generally come as a bike trailer with the ability to swap or move the front wheel(s) so you can use it as a stroller for walking and jogging on easy paths. To run effectively with these on rockier, muddy terrain you’ll need to purchase the extra fixed front wheel jogging kit, and likewise the ski kit for use in snow.
Some straps and clips can be unbelievably fiddly to connect or adjust, so definitely try them out with a teddy first, and if it requires a degree in rocket science to figure out, or takes too long, send the buggy back. This is something you’ll be grappling with possibly every single day, and sometimes with a writhing devil child, so this is one thing that needs to be as simple and quick as possible.
Most pure running strollers can be angled from upright to flat for comfy napping, but the multi-activity strollers tend to recline only a little way, which is less ideal for sleeping babies, so you might need to invest in some head / neck support for littler ones in these.
The best running strollers are really easy to fold up and re-assemble, but you might have to read the instructions first to avoid unnecessarily fighting with certain bits. Unlike some town prams, you will need to use two hands and you can’t carry your baby during assembly or collapse, so leave them in the car seat while you get sorted.
Annoyingly, a rain cover is often considered an add-on accessory – with an accompanying extra cost – but you will need one to protect your child from wind, rain and cold, so you basically have no choice but to pay up. Don’t scrimp here, though – it usually pays to go for the manufacturer’s own rather than a cheap generic cover to ensure it fits securely without flapping, especially in windy weather.
It’s good to have a lot of room in the undercarriage for gear, snacks and drinks. Extra pockets with elastic or zips and bottle holders both inside and outside the pram are also a nice touch for adventurers. Most come with underside cargo included but do check just in case.
Many running buggies and most of the multi-activity joggers come as either single or double versions. If you know you want more little sleep-stealers and only want to buy one pram, you can also go double from the outset – a little extra weight and bulk could be considered good training!
Padding and insulation
Many stroller brands make their own padding and insulation in the form of things like cosier seat pads, cushioning and foot muffs. If they’re an extra cost it’s worth checking if generic cheaper padding and insulation from other prams or online also fit in your buggy to save on costs.
Look for a long peak to the sunshade and options to zip on or attach extra parts to extend the shade so that when you run towards the sun your little one won’t be dazzled. Some brands also sell full UV covers but we prefer to just clip a large piece of muslin to the sunshade to allow air to circulate.
If you live in a hot place where breathability is a must, then mesh sides to the pram and sunshade are a great feature.
The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films packed with trail- and ultra-running content. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, her first book The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running 5k to 50k is out in January 2021. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races.
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